Northern Exposure

We all know cars and deer can be a lethal combination, particularly during deer season which generally runs from October through December. But moose, weighing up to 1,000 lbs, can present even greater risks for drivers and their insurers. For example, reports out of Anchorage warn that moose collisions could be double or even triple the average this winter as heavy snow has led more moose than ever to wander into city limits. The Alaska Moose Federation notes that in 2006 some 236 moose were killed on Alaskan highways, with an average cost per accident of $8,356. Vigilant driving is part of the answer, but new high-tech solutions may also help to better manage this risk. Take Connecticut, where state wildlife officials have just announced they will use GPS collars to track and collect data on the state’s moose population. Now just imagine that regulators allowed auto insurers to use a similar system to monitor the habits of their policyholders.

2 thoughts on “Northern Exposure”

  1. You may jest Claire, but in the UK a number of motor insurers are considering fitting GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to the insured’s car to enable them to provide cover tailored to the individual.

    Norwich Union, one of the UK’s largest motor insurers, is already using the technology to calculate monthly insurance premiums based on how often, when and where the policyholder drives.

    This so-called “Pay As You Drive”â„¢ insurance is promoted as offering the policyholder a fairer deal and increased control of their premiums.

    I am not so sure. Personally, the whole thing just makes me uncomfortable and further eats into our personal privacy (although in this case the policyholder has the option to choose whether to be monitored or not). I wonder who else will have access to the information collected?

  2. Vannessa – Thank you for your comments. It’s interesting to hear about the U.K. developments in this area.

    U.S. auto insurers too (e.g. Progressive) have tested several programs that would use GPS technology. So far, most states are reluctant to formally approve such schemes as they rightfully raise questions on privacy.

    It’s interesting to note that in the area of auto theft, GPS technology has certainly been helpful in reducing losses.

    The I.I.I. puts out a regular press release that alerts people to the dangers of deer season. You can read more about this at

    Thanks again for your comments.

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